In an operation approved by Lebanon's Agriculture Ministry, animal rescuers entered a zoo along the Nahr al-Kalb river this week and confiscated Charlie, a nine-year-old chimp, who was smuggled to Lebanon in 2005 and sold from a pet shop before ending up in Animal City zoo, according to Lebanon's Daily Star.
Animals Lebanon, the group that orchestrated the rescue, released a statement saying:
The Ministry of Agriculture declared in 2006 that Charlie was smuggled into Lebanon and that no permits have been issued for his importation. An attempted confiscation in early 2006 failed after the zoo removed Charlie the day before the operation was to take place.
Charlie was Lebanon's last known chimpanzee in captivity, following the rescue of three others in recent years. Now, Charlie will go to a sanctuary as soon as possible, said Animals Lebanon Executive Director Jason Mier.
"Charlie is now being moved into a purpose-built enclosure where he will be given a proper diet and schedule of daily enrichment, and able to enjoy as natural of a setting as possible until he can be transferred to the sanctuary and get the medical care he needs."